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Why Shira?

High altitude start

The Shira Route is one of the lesser used trails on Mount Kilimanjaro, making it perfect for those wishing to avoid large numbers of climbers on the first few days. The route passes through some of the best parts of the forest before winding across the Shira Plateau, the highlight of many climbers expedition.

The Shira Route approaches from the west with the massive cone of Kibo looming straight ahead for a lot of the climb, great for some spectacular photography. This is a great route for anyone who wants to spend a little more time on the mountain (though it is recommended for climbers who are already acclimatized, due to the high altitude start), as there are plenty of walks and trails around the Shira Plateau that can be added to your standard climb.

Itinerary code: STT K7 or STT K7+1


Nights:Camping in a tent

Duration: 8 Days/ 7 Nights (6 Days on trek) /10 Days/ 9 Nights (8 Days on trek)

Day 2 - Shira Trail head to Forest Camp

Time (average):4-5 hours

Altitude gained:100 metres (3500 feet)

Distance:7 km

Departure from Mountain Inn. The drive to the Shira Park Gate takes between 2 and 3 hours through some beautiful countryside. At the Park Gate, After the registration formalities, you will proceed to the gate to start your climb.

Day 3 - Forest Camp to Shira Camp

Time (average):6-8 hours

Altitude gained: 1050 metres (3500 feet)

Distance:12 km

A 2-hour hike up a shallow but steady gradient brings you to the Morum Barrier (11,480ft/3500m). From here the route curves south-south-east. The gentle ascent continues for another 2 hours of slow climbing, bringing you to the Simba Cave Campsite (11,780ft/3590m) and the junction with the Lemosho Route. The cave is just to the northeast of the junction. Camp is to the southeast but instead we will head south-south-west for the Shira Cathedral, a flat walk of about 1 hour 30 minutes. After spending some time exploring the impressive lava features at the Cathedral we walk east for 1 hour 15 minutes to the Shira Huts (12,600ft/3840m) in time for dinner. It can dip below freezing on the Shira Plateau at night so wrap up warm. It's a good idea to start sleeping with tomorrow's socks in your sleeping bag from tonight on to keep them warm. Keep your hat, gloves and torch handy too in case you need to go to the toilet during the night.

Day 4 - Shira Camp to Barranco Camp

Time (average):6-8 hours

Altitude gained: 100 metres (500 feet)

Distance:8.5 km

Today you climb high and sleep low for acclimatization. Your destination is the impressive Barranco Valley. You have 2 options for getting there. Those who prefer a less strenuous day or those feeling the effects of altitude can climb a maximum height of 14,860ft / 4530m just after lunch before descending into the valley. Those who feel up for a little more adventure can continue climbing to the Lava Tower (15,230ft / 4642m) before their descent.

Day 5 - Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp

Time (average): 7-8 hours

Altitude gained:rises 380 metres (1250 feet) over the Barranco Wall, then falls and rises to Barafu (650 m/ 2130 ft net gain)

Terrain:after a steep, exposed climb up the Barranco Wall (some scrambling), gradients ease

Summary:a taxing day, to be followed by an even tougher night, but with good views.

Day 6a - Barafu Camp to the Summit

Time (average): 6-10 hours

Altitude lost: 1195/1295 metres (3920/4250 feet) to Stella Point/ Uhuru peak

Terrain: a steep, rough ascent on lose scree and rocks to the crater rim; more gradual thereafter

Summary: the most strenuous stage of a strenuous route, normally attempted between midnight and dawn

Day 6b - Summit to Mweka Camp

Time (average):7-8 hours

Altitude lost: 2795 metres (9170 feet)

Terrain: gradual descent around crater rim, then steep, lose scree followed by rough path

Summary:many people find the descent hard on the knees and feet: don't underestimate this stage

Extra day for Acclimatization

Day 6 Karanga Camp (4200m) - Acclimatization day

After breakfast, you leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley Campsite. This additional day will further assist the process of Acclimatisation and break up your summit attempt to maximise your chances of reaching Uhuru!